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Portsmouth tops Derryfield for Division II boys lacrosse championship

Jun. 9—NASHUA — The Portsmouth High School boys lacrosse team solved a season-long problem at the best possible time.

The typically slow-starting Clippers jumped out to an early lead that they never relinquished in their 13-9 victory over Derryfield School in the NHIAA Division II final on Saturday at Stellos Stadium.

The score was tied twice but top-seeded Portsmouth never trailed to secure a 20-0 season and its third D-II title in the past four years. The Clippers also defeated Derryfield in the 2022 final and in the 2021 semifinals before beating Timberlane in the title game that year.

Second-seeded Derryfield, which beat the Clippers in last year's final, finished 17-3. The Cougars' only two in-state losses came against Portsmouth.

The Clippers took a 3-0 lead over the opening 4 minutes, 22 seconds behind two goals from senior midfielder Zac Amend and another from junior attackman Ben Purcell.

Amend, who is committed to Division I Bryant University, credited his defensive teammates for creating quick turnovers to give the Clippers those early scoring opportunities.

"Once we were up, we knew we weren't going to let up," Amend said. "That confidence helped us carry through the game."

Portsmouth led, 3-1, after the opening quarter and 7-5 at halftime.

The Clippers then pulled away in the third quarter, scoring four unanswered goals over the final 9:03 of the frame after Derryfield cut their lead to 7-6.

Cougars coach Chris Hettler said Portsmouth wore his team down with its athleticism.

"I think they were pretty much the only team that was able to do that (to us) all season," Hettler said. "Normally we're running teams into the ground. They were very athletic and it caught up to us."

Portsmouth senior faceoff specialist Nick Smith won four of seven faceoffs and the Clippers got their transition game going in the third quarter. They also killed off a 90-second penalty in the frame.

Amend's goal 1:37 after Derryfield pulled within one began the Clippers' third-quarter run that extended to 6-0 in the fourth.

"We knew we had them up against the ropes," Portsmouth coach Chad Vischer said. "You could see the fatigue kicking in and when we had the mismatch, we went."

Derryfield did not score again until 3:01 remained, when senior midfielder John Kramer trimmed Portsmouth's lead to 13-7.

"Nick was winning faceoffs and when we've got possession, it's hard for their offense to get in a rhythm," Amend said.

The Cougars twice knotted the score, at 3-3 and 4-4, in the second quarter behind goals from senior Chili Cabot.

Cabot, an attackman, scored four first-half goals on his way to a five-goal, one-assist outing.

Three of Derryfield's first-half goals came while on a man-up advantage.

Portsmouth junior goalie Kai Paterson frustrated the Cougars on his way to 19 saves.

Smith, a Division I Quinnipiac University commit, won 14 of 23 faceoffs alongside logging a goal and three assists for the Clippers.

Purcell scored a game-high five goals. Amend had three goals and one assist. Portsmouth also received two goals from Briggs Catino and one each from Reilly Collins, and Lucas Patten.

Kramer had a goal and four assists, RJ Proulx scored twice and Brady Doldo added a goal for Derryfield. Cougars senior goalie Parker Lebiedz made 15 saves.

Derryfield senior faceoff specialist Logan Purvis won nine faceoffs.

"I think, when it came down to it, that was a really athletic, physical, well-seasoned team," Hettler said of Portsmouth. "It was taking everything to play a perfect game for us and we didn't quite play perfect."

ahall@unionleader.com